Tuesday, May 26, 2020

1099. The Big Short

The Big Short
Directed by Adam McKay

I vaguely recalled watching part of this on a bad date, but I think I was spending my time plotting my escape and consequently did not pay much attention the first go-round. This time, I am more focused, and more familiar with Adam McKay, who apparently is dedicating his life to telling the stories of white privileged pricks.

In short (HA! Blame the quarantimes, please), this movie explains how the financial crisis of 2007-2008 was caused by the housing bubble. Knowing that most Americans couldn't care less about the economy, McKay is desperate to hold onto our interest as he walks us through this thing. This entails having celebrities explain certain key concepts, like having Margot Robbie breaking down jargon while taking a bubble bath. I think it takes more skill to weave pertinent information into the narrative, rather than having some sort of star-studded glossary interrupting the story every so often, but that's McKay for you.

This movie obviously has an amazing cast, with Steve Carrell in particular standing out. How thrilled was Christian Bale to play somebody with a glass eye? It's Spencer Tracy at Bad Day at Black Rock all over again. I wish they had done more with Marisa Tomei, but can understand why she was regulated to the sidelines.

So great actors and a great script; this movie is highly quotable. Still, this is only slightly less subtle than a Michael Moore documentary. He's not my favorite director, but if he keeps casting Steve Carrell, I'll be happy and quiet (or at least happy).

RATING: ***--

Interesting Facts:

Lola FX did the special effects for Bale's glass eye, making it more noticeable than it would be in real life.

The real Michael Burry makes a cameo as a Scion employee.

First Adam McKay movie not to feature Will Ferrell.


  1. If you're looking for a genuine quarantine movie, watch The Exterminating Angel from Bunuel. It's on the list from 2013 on.

  2. I had to look up who Marisa Tomei is, and still no wiser.. and certainly not why she has been regulated (sic) to the sidelines..
    Anyway.. I rated this film as it scared the beep out of me..., and that no-one has learnt anything from it and it's all starting out again.
    The 'gimmick' of having cameos of Margot Robbie (quick google, ah, her, got ya) I thought worked, and brought a touch of lightness to it all, and avoided the usual film trope of painfully inserting explanations.

  3. I guess so, but since so few women were central to the story, it felt like we only care about women in finance if they are naked in a bathtub when they discuss it.

  4. Ohhh... OK, I get your point that few women are central to the story .. but I don't see this as a cause for complaint. You really want to find that women were involved in this shitty behavior? Surely it's good that women were not involved?
    And yes, I certainly get the point that 'surely we don't need to have the woman naked in order to get us to pay attention'. Very fair point, but it 'lightened the mood' and stopped people nodding off during a long explanation of high finance. I'd encourage you to see the 'character' as a person who knew her financial stuff, and the set up as a criticism of the way things stand that if she had sat behind a desk and dryly expounded on the whys and wherefores, a lot of the audience wouldn't have understood.